Skip to product information
1 of 10

"Three Wise Men" Antique Fukusa

"Three Wise Men" Antique Fukusa

Good Omen

Regular price $149.00
Regular price $199.00 Sale price $149.00
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.
  • Ships from NY
  • One-of-a-kind
  • Sourced from Japan
This listing is for a vintage - perhaps antique - fukusa gift cover. See explanation below for how fukusa are used and a bit about their history.

This fukusa is large-scale (see measurements) and beautifully, finely painted. The image is of three sages examining a text that no doubt offers best wishes or congratulations. A crane watches over the group from the right, and another one approaches overhead. The face of each man conveys a warmth and charm that makes the piece quite special.

The backside is not red - as is typical - it is a steel blue silk with a white family crest in the corner - one that we haven't seen before. It is a sakura (cherry blossom) on a folding fan shape - lovely.

As with many antique silk textiles, the back side shows its age with some weakened fibers along the fold line and three small holes that expose the inner cotton lining. But this work of art is very likely over 100 years old and is much more valuable than the current market recognizes. It is still in very good condition and could be framed or displayed - or used!

From Wikipedia:
Fukusa are a type of Japanese textile used for gift-wrapping or for purifying equipment during a Japanese tea ceremony. Fukusa are square or almost square pieces of lined fabric ranging in size from about 9–36 inches (230–910 mm) along one side. They are typically made of fine silk, and may be decorated with embroidery in auspicious designs.

The use of fukusa as a way of presenting gifts has mostly died out, lingering instead mainly in certain ritual exchanges of gifts during weddings in a few regions of Japan.

Traditionally in Japan, gifts were placed in boxes or on a wooden or lacquered tray, over which a fukusa would be draped. The choice of a fukusa appropriate to the occasion was considered an important part of the gift itself, and part of its formality. The practice of covering a gift became widespread during the Edo period (1603-1867).

The scene or motifs depicted on fukusa are chosen to indicate either the occasion for which the gift is being given, or because they are appropriate for one of the annual festivals when gifts are exchanged. The richness of the decoration of the fukusa attests to the giver's wealth and aesthetics.

Once a gift was exchanged, after being admired, the fukusa and box or tray presented with the gift are typically returned to the gift's original giver. However, before the Meiji Restoration, when gifts were presented to a high official, the fukusa was not always returned.

Length: 29.5"
Width: 25.5"
Made In (Estimated): 1950s
Condition: Very Good
Fiber: Silk
Technique: Painted
Colors: Multi
Motifs: Figures, People, Mythology


Low stock: 1 left

View full details